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Malaysia to table bill to abolish death penalty, says law minister

Kuala Lumpur

THE DEATH penalty will be abolished and there should be a moratorium on all executions until then, Liew Vui Keong said on Wednesday.

The de facto Law Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said that the only issue was what to do with the convicts currently on death row, the Star online news reported.

'"All death penalty will be abolished. Full stop.

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'"Since we are abolishing the sentence, all executions should not be carried out.

'"We will inform the Pardons Board to look into various applications for convicts on the (death penalty) waiting list to either be commuted or released,'" he told the press after chairing the Law Reform Talk at Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Law.

While the government is studying certain cases, he said that in reviewing the punishment, various aspects must be taken into account in ensuring an appropriate penalty was doled out to offenders.

"Drug-related offences will be different and consideration must be given to convicts who, for example, were drug mules, as compared to those who committed heinous crimes.

"We also need to comprehensively consider all cases, especially when it concerns the families of murdered victims," he said.

Mr Liew said the necessary paperwork to abolish the death penalty which is now in its the final stages had received the go ahead from the Attorney General Chambers to be tabled in the coming Parliament sitting, beginning Oct 15.

In Malaysia, the death penalty carried out by hanging is mandatory for crimes such as murder with intent to kill, for trafficking excessive amounts of drugs and possession of firearms.

Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals faced the gallows. A total of 1,267 prisoners are on death row, making up 2.7 per cent of the 60,000 behind bars.